Last summer the girls discovered the ice cream truck. It would pull up near the park where we were playing and they would beg to be allowed to get a treat, and sometimes I would let them (and get myself one too, of course). Now whenever we hear the music they begin howling for ice cream. The problem (I mean, the one besides wanting to limit our consumption of sweets) is that the ice cream man in our neighborhood seems to be, as a friend put it, a retired NASCAR driver uninterested in making a sale. We have chased him around the neighborhood on our bikes--tricky because there are lots of loops and streets that don’t go through in our neighborhood, so it can be hard to tell exactly where he is, or to get to him in a timely manner once we figure it out--and run down the street as he turns the corner. My girls are working on their technique, though, and have caught him twice in two weeks.
To begin with, Adriana made a list, which charmed me,
Catch Ice Cream Man Do List
1. Hear music
2. Kids run outside
3. Mama get walit
4. Mama run outside
5. Kids jump and wave
6. Buy ice cream
7. Eat it
“Walit”--I love it!
They followed that list last week and were successful in getting themselves a cold, artificially flavored, HFCS-laden treat (plus one for the little boy three houses down). It was thrilling and they have been very frustrated with my refusals to buy them more ever since. But tonight we had just gotten home from their gymnastics classes when Adriana swore she’d heard the ice cream truck music. I wasn’t convinced, but I needed a little bit of time to get dinner on the table which is always easier without tired, hungry, grouchy children underfoot, so I gave her some money and let them wait out in the driveway where I could keep an eye on them as I cooked.
Lyra began yelling at any neighbor who walked or drove by, “Have you seen the ice cream man?” The UPS man drove up to deliver a package across the street, and she asked him, too. “I keep hearing his music. I’m sure he’ll be along soon,” he told her. “What kind are you going to get?” Finally I heard the girls shrieking with glee as the music grew louder and the truck turned onto our street. I stood and watched the girls make their selection, with Lyra speaking for both of them and Adriana paying.
And then I watched the UPS truck pull up again, right behind the ice cream truck. The driver hopped out, thanked the kids for catching him, and bought himself a treat.
Adriana and Lyra brought their treats in and put them in the freezer without argument, and both ate good dinners before sitting down on the back step to enjoy their dessert. I couldn’t resist picking up my camera, as I wondered if they’ll remember any of this: the hot sidewalk under their bare feet while they wait for the truck, the excitement of seeing it turn onto our street, the way the ice cream tastes, or just sitting next to one another after dinner. I hope they do.